LiveDeal Promises to Be 'Your Local Marketplace'
By Ina Steiner
eBay changed the world for retailers and entrepreneurs by giving them a national and international venue on which to sell. But USPS and shipping companies restrict the size of items they will accept, and many buyers don't want to pay the high cost of shipping large, heavy packages if the item is relatively inexpensive.
Local marketplaces to the rescue!
LiveDeal http://www.livedeal.com launched in 2003 as a way for people to find items in their own communities. Founder and CEO Rajesh Navar came up with the idea when he attended a yard sale and asked how much a stroller and car seat for his children would cost. He was astounded when the owner said he could have the items, which would cost hundreds of dollars at a store, for free. "The owner told me to take it away, because he would have to pay to get the items hauled away." Thus an idea for a local marketplace was born.
Navar was a member of the original engineering team at eBay where he led the search group. He knows the key to ecommerce is being able to find the items you want. With LiveDeal, you can set your location by zip code or city/state, and items come back sorted into "local" and "non-local" listings. LiveDeal first tries to find items local to you, then displays items non-local (or shippable) to you.
There are five tabs at the top of LiveDeal pages: Browse allows you to see all categories, which include Items; Coupons & Free Stuff; Services; and Jobs. There were 38,045 "Items" available to my region when I checked last week, and 624 of them were local to me at Natick, MA 01760. And like old-fashioned classified ads, there are items "for sale," and "wanted" items. Other tabs include Search; Post/Sell; Community; and My LiveDeal. Clicking on Items brings up a new page with subcategories.
Currently, LiveDeal charges no listing fees. The site charges only for optional listing features; stores; and commission for "Buy Now with PayPal" sales. Fees are outlined online at http://www.livedeal.com/about/fees.jsp.
As a buyer, I was really impressed with the RSS feed available for searches. I subscribe to Bloglines, which organizes content feeds (see my article about this service at http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y204/m08/abu0124/s04). I check Bloglines daily for news, and now I can click on my LiveDeal feeds to see newly listed furniture and books (or any other category I choose) in my area. To get the feed, browse a category and look for the "XML" button at the bottom of the listings.
The Listings Creator http://www.livedeal.com/rss/listingscreator.jsp is tied to LiveDeal's affiliate program that allows people to post local listings on their Web pages or Blogs and make money.
While this may be advanced for many users, people who are comfortable with content feeds are sure to find it a convenient way to keep an eye on new listings.
So why do people need a local marketplace when there are newspaper classifieds? Navar said newspapers are very fragmented and said LiveDeal is integrated and more cost-effective.
The recent deal in which eBay invested in classifieds site Craigslist.org "adds fuel to the fire" in the local ecommerce space. Craigslist is strong in rentals, jobs and services, Navar says, but LiveDeal is all about local ecommerce, buying and selling items in your local area. And LiveDeal has the rentals, jobs and services listings as well.
LiveDeal says it's good for large or hard-to-ship items; for people who don't want to give their credit card numbers over the Internet; and for people concerned about online fraud.
Navar said stores are using the site to list items too. "We have been seeing a 30% growth in the number of stores signing up month over month."
So the next time you have a large or bulky item that you aren't enthusiastic about listing online, consider one of the local marketplaces like LiveDeal. (I imagine eBay drop-off stores will take advantage of these sites as well when people walk in with over-sized items.)
LiveDeal has an affiliate program http://www.livedealaffiliates.com. For each new user that registers for a LiveDeal account and selects the ID Verify feature, you'll earn $4 (LiveDeal offers a 90 day cookie). For each new LiveDeal storefront you refer, you'll earn $9. LiveDeal will soon extend this program to allow "offline" affiliates as well, known as MainStreet Affiliates.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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